Welcome to Book Tag Sunday! Every Sunday, we’re hoping to do a new book tag for all of you. To kick it off, we’ve decided to do the Goodreads Book Tag, which we found from Life of a Literary Nerd! Goodreads is truly such an invaluable source. It’s an organizational tool, but also helps us get involved in the community by seeing what people are reading and whether they love or hate it. So without further ado, let’s see what’s coming up for us!
I received this book for free from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
Review by: Paige
Rating: ★ ★ ★
Publication: October 1st, 2017
Genre: New Adult, Magical Realism, Urban Fantasy
Synopsis: Most people have no idea goblins live in the woods around the small town of Bellwater, Washington. But some are about to find out.
Skye, a young barista and artist, falls victim to a goblin curse in the forest one winter night, rendering her depressed and silenced, unable to speak of what happened. Her older sister, Livy, is at wit’s end trying to understand what’s wrong with her. Local mechanic Kit would know, but he doesn’t talk of such things: he’s the human liaison for the goblin tribe, a job he keeps secret and never wanted, thrust on him by an ancient family contract.
Unaware of what’s happened to Skye, Kit starts dating Livy, trying to keep it casual to protect her from the attention of the goblins. Meanwhile, unbeknownst to Kit, Skye draws his cousin Grady into the spell through an enchanted kiss in the woods, dooming Grady and Skye both to become goblins and disappear from humankind forever.
It’s a midwinter night’s enchantment as Livy, the only one untainted by a spell, sets out to save them on a dangerous magical path of her own.
We are without a doubt people who judge books by their covers. We’re all guilty of it to some extent, but believe us, we’re not opposed to picking up books even when they have less-than-alluring cover designs. But it’s time to show some praise for what we each believe are the prettiest covers out there! We can analyze design in relation to books just as well as the books themselves, y’all. Check out each of our top picks, and make sure to tell us what your favorites are!
Review by: Paige
Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★
Synopsis: When fifteen-year-old Julia Beaufort-Stuart wakes up in the hospital, she knows the lazy summer break she’d imagined won’t be exactly like she anticipated. And once she returns to her grandfather’s estate, a bit banged up but alive, she begins to realize that her injury might not have been an accident. One of her family’s employees is missing, and he disappeared on the very same day she landed in the hospital.
Desperate to figure out what happened, she befriends Euan McEwen, the Scottish Traveller boy who found her when she was injured, and his standoffish sister, Ellen. As Julie grows closer to this family, she experiences some of the prejudices they’ve grown used to firsthand, a stark contrast to her own upbringing, and finds herself exploring thrilling new experiences that have nothing to do with a missing-person investigation.
Her memory of that day returns to her in pieces, and when a body is discovered, her new friends are caught in the crosshairs of long-held biases about Travellers. Julie must get to the bottom of the mystery in order to keep them from being framed for the crime.
In honor of the “Summer of ’17”, and being halfway through July, we’ve compiled a list of 17 Summer Reads that are perfect for the beach! Whether you’ve got your toes in the sand, or are curled up on a stormy night, these books are the perfect summer recipe. Sweet or dark, they’re all engrossing. Believe us, you won’t be leaving the beach until you’re through with this list. As always, make sure to tell us your favorite summer reads!
Review by: Meg
Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★
Winter, 1945. Four teenagers. Four secrets.
Each one born of a different homeland; each one hunted, and haunted, by tragedy, lies…and war.
As thousands of desperate refugees flock to the coast in the midst of a Soviet advance, four paths converge, vying for passage aboard the Wilhelm Gustloff, a ship that promises safety and freedom.
Yet not all promises can be kept.
Inspired by the single greatest tragedy in maritime history, bestselling and award-winning author Ruta Sepetys (Between Shades of Gray) lifts the veil on a shockingly little-known casualty of World War II. An illuminating and life-affirming tale of heart and hope.
Review by: Paige
Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★
Synopsis: Lara Jean is having the best senior year a girl could ever hope for. She is head over heels in love with her boyfriend, Peter; her dad’s finally getting remarried to their next door neighbor, Ms. Rothschild; and Margot’s coming home for the summer just in time for the wedding.
But change is looming on the horizon. And while Lara Jean is having fun and keeping busy helping plan her father’s wedding, she can’t ignore the big life decisions she has to make. Most pressingly, where she wants to go to college and what that means for her relationship with Peter. She watched her sister Margot go through these growing pains. Now Lara Jean’s the one who’ll be graduating high school and leaving for college and leaving her family—and possibly the boy she loves—behind.
When your heart and your head are saying two different things, which one should you listen to?
Review by: Meg
Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★
10:00 a.m. The principal of Opportunity High School finishes her speech, welcoming the entire student body to a new semester and encouraging them to excel and achieve.
10:02 a.m. The students get up to leave the auditorium for their next class.
10:03 a.m. The auditorium doors won’t open.
10:05 a.m. Someone starts shooting.
Told from four different perspectives over the span of fifty-four harrowing minutes, terror reigns as one student’s calculated revenge turns into the ultimate game of survival.
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary, Realistic Fiction
Review: Reading the synopsis of this book, I was thrilled to pick it up and start reading, because the subject matter is of such importance in our world today. I was very curious and hopeful to see how the sensitive, and unfortunately, very real, problems of gun violence and school shootings would be breached in a young adult novel.
From start to finish, the writing style of this book was absolutely harrowing, and the way in which Nijkamp let the plot run through four distinct narrators, was brilliant. The mysterious and dark tone of this novel was haunting, and I think this writing style was perfectly suited for the very intense subject matter of the novel. I truly loved the way Autumn and Slyv’s characters intertwined and overlapped, both in their traits, but also throughout the plot of the novel.
Throughout This Is Where It Ends, the author also touched on other very important topics in our world today such as the LGBTQ+ community, abuse, rape, bullying, etc., however, I found the way these important issues were approached extremely shallow throughout the novel. This book had such potential to look at the important issue of the psychology of school shooters, but seemed to be a disappointment every time the question of “Why would the shooter be doing this?” or “What could’ve caused this?” was approached.
The shooter, Tyler, was my biggest letdown in this novel, although (obviously) he is the antagonist in this novel, I was so utterly disappointed that he wasn’t given any type of humanity throughout the plot. In the end, it seemed that Tyler was simply evil just to be evil, and became a school shooter just because he could. This was my biggest issue with the novel because although the book had great potential to really delve into the psychology of a person like Tyler, it was a wasted opportunity because the villain was so inhumanly evil and cruel.
However, I did enjoy the plot of This Is Where It Ends, it was, what I imagine is, an extremely accurate representation of the absolute dread and fear of being a involved in such an intense and dangerous situation. The four main characters all have different roles in the situation inside, and outside, the high school that all correlate beautifully together and create an extremely serious, and anxious, mood throughout the novel.
My favorite part of this novel though, is the development of the high school and the town around it. As a person who just graduated from high school myself, I truly felt the emotions of the anxiety about the future, the sense of unity among the students, and the fear of what is in the world outside of the town you have known your entire life. It is these emotions and situations of the excitement and fear of getting out of their small hometown that have the greatest impact on each of the characters in this novel, which makes for a brilliant way to develop each person throughout the book.
Overall, this book had some huge upsides, but also unfortunately some major pitfalls as well. It was certainly a fast, but dark and intense, read, with such an important set of topics to discuss in our world today. In the end, I think that it could have (and should have) gone deeper into the psychological aspects of school shootings, but still provides an interesting and important platform for this serious issue.
With getting back into the book community comes participating in weekly events! We’re so excited to start getting involved in Waiting on Wednesday, a weekly event hosted by Breaking the Spine which spotlights upcoming releases that book bloggers are eagerly anticipating.
For our first ever pick, we’re choosing Before the Devil Breaks You by Libba Bray, the third book in The Diviners series! This has been one of our favorite series for a long time, despite the long wait for a sequel, and anything Libba Bray writes is glorious. She’s also just one of the kindest, funniest people out there. And, truly, these books just keep getting better and better. If you haven’t read this series yet, you’re seriously missing out. We’re looking forward to October 3rd and all the wicked things in store!
Synopsis: After battling a sleeping sickness, The Diviners are up against a group of new and malevolent foes–ghosts! Out in Ward’s Island sits a mental hospital full of lost souls from people long forgotten. Ghosts who have unusual and dangerous ties to the Man in the Stovepipe Hat also known as the King of Crows.
With terrible accounts of murder and possession flooding in from all over New York City, the Diviners must band together and brave the ghosts haunting the asylum to bring down the King of Crows.
I recieved this book for free from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
Publication: August 1st, 2017
Review by: Paige
Rating: ★ ★
Synopsis: When boy meets girl meets alien, the angst of first love gets an extraterrestrial intervention in a tale both outrageously funny and full of heart.
Ten years after Earth sent messages out into deep space, there has been an answer. Music from a distant planet has reached the world’s radios. Are aliens about to invade? No one knows, and almost-eighteen-year-old Derek doesn’t really care, because at a wild end-of-the-world party, Jennifer Novak invited him to play beer pong, and things, well, progressed from there. Derek is in love. Deeply, hopelessly in love. He wants it all — marriage, kids, growing old on a beach in Costa Rica. For him, Jenny is the One. But Jenny has other plans, which may or may not include Derek. So Derek will try anything to win her — even soliciting advice from an alien who shows up in his hometown. This alien may just be the answer to Derek’s problem, but is Derek prepared to risk starting an interstellar war to get his girl? Just how far is he willing to travel to discover the mysteries of the universe — and the enigma of love?
Genre: Young Adult, Science Fiction, Contemporary
Review: If I could sum this book up in one word, it would be this: juvenile. I was really looking forward to reading it, as I’m never one to turn down a good alien book, but I was severely disappointed.
The book was heavily focused on sex in an immature way, and perpetuated “nerd culture” to such an extent it made my eyes burn. It may be endearing to others, but it simply wasn’t for me. I was more interested in the alien and war aspects of the novel, but those were so underdeveloped that it made me confused more than anything else. And when the aliens did get more fleshed out towards the end, I found that I didn’t actually enjoy it.
The worst part of this book, however, was the narrator. He was self-absorbed, possessive, and obsessed with the fantastical version he created of a girl who wasn’t even that great, and who he didn’t know at all. He entertained long, drawn out, descriptive fantasies of what their lives would be like together at 85 and it could not have been more annoying and unrealistic. The objectification of women and crass humor was not my speed at all.
I think there are readers who will enjoy this book, but it simply was not for me. I thought by the end there the narrator was reaching a point where he would grow and redeem himself, but it was once again ruined. Unfortunately, there just wasn’t much for me to enjoy about this book.